TODAY | October 23, 2012
>>> back now at 8:35 with our special series "the new normal" where we take a closer look at the changing american family . this morning we follow along as one writer takes to the stage to tell his story in his own words.
>> after five loving fulfilling years with my boyfriend drew, i suddenly found myself online looking to meet a woman. to become dads we needed an egg donor , and finding one wasn't going to be easy. it was hard to imagine any of these women contributing half of our child's dna and then most likely disappearing forever. am i picking a woman because she's pretty? am i picking her because she helps, you know, kids after school? how can you tell who the perfect person is?
>> you feel like you want to make the right decision, and it feels like it's very loaded.
>> that's what when suzy called.
>> i told him i don't know where you are in this sequence or if you're interested, but keep me in mind because i'm -- i want you to have everything.
>> suzy was everything an egg donor should be, kind, beautiful, smart, a gifted artist and at 28 she was practically at the peak of her fertility. she was also drew's little sister .
>> i thought i could give them the happiness and joy that we always had as kids.
>> we knew having a baby this way could be messy, but drew and i grew up in a time when coming out meant putting an end to your dreams of fatherhood, but now we can picture having a baby with a little bit of both of us. we decided to go for it. unfortunately, mother nature had other plans.
>> most women susie 's age would produce dozens of healthy eggs. when she went in to have her eggs harvested, drew and i were in the waiting room, and the doctor came out and he was kind of shaking his head, and we knew right away it was bad news. it turns out she had only produced seven eggs. of those two failed to fertilize. the doctor warned us that if our surrogate couldn't get pregnant with susie 's eggs it was highly unlikely that susie ever could either. the outlook was bad for us, crushing for susie . this could be her only chance at having a baby, a baby that would be ours, not hers.
>> at that point i realized things don't happen the way you necessarily plan, and you just kind of go with it. if i don't have my own kids, i know my brother, if this worked out for them, would have that.
>> just before christmas the nurse called from the fertility doctor's office. jerry, she squealed, i have some exciting news! a few weeks later we had our first ultrasound appointment with our surrogate.
>> we couldn't believe that we were potentially going to be parents, and the doctor walked in and started examining the surrogate and said, yeah, the two embryos are there and i said we're what?
>> from the grainy soup of the sonogram monitor two distinct peanut shapes emerged, twins.
>> pretty loosy goosey.
>> she gave the chance for jerry and i have to equal parts in our children, and i think she gave us the chance to have a life that we never thought we could have.
>> now thanks to susie there are two tiny people running around our house. i see a little bit of each of us in them, my nose, susie 's eyes, drew's chin. they fight and cry and laugh and sing. they cost a fortune. they are ours. we don't consider sues' mother to our kids, but she's a very special aunt, and we know some day our kids will fully appreciate the amazing gift she's given us.
>> a little over a year ago susie came to us and told us she had some big news.
>> my surprise little miracle.
>> good girl.
>> when they tell you that you can't have and then all of a sudden when you're not planning and things definitely aren't going that way, surprise.
>> oh, very nice.
>> families aren't made by a mold. they are made by people who love each other. sometimes they look weird to outsiders. our family has no mom. maybe yours lives in a winnebago or has a reality show on e. nobody's perfect, but even though we can't always give our kids everything we want them to, have we do our best.
>> things happen. miracle happens. life happens, and we're lucky.
>> sometimes i'll see people looking at us funny, maybe doing a double take or muttering under their breath. it takes me a minute to remember oh, yeah, they are not used to seeing families like mine.
>> down the block.
>> may not be a typical family, and we're not perfect either, but to me we're perfectly norm a. i guess you could say we're the new normal. [ applause ]
>> you can find more of jerry mahoney 's log on our website and thanks for taking part in the open mike .